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Council, clubs on collision course
Peel Junior Soccer Association secretary Helen Norman, flanked by her sons Tom and Jack, and Secret Harbour Dockers Football Club president Peter McClay, with his sons Ryan and Jack, far right, oppose a proposal to relocate their respective clubs.

Rockingham City Council is on a collision course with two sporting clubs as it attempts to combat the shortage of sporting fields in the Coastal Ward.

On Monday, the council’s community development committee endorsed a recommendation to upgrade Rhonda Scarrott Reserve in Golden Bay and Laurie Stanford Reserve in Singleton to house the Peel Junior Soccer Association and Secret Harbour Dockers Football Club respectively.

In its submissions to the committee, both clubs opposed the proposal, saying they preferred the council investigate the feasibility of stage two upgrades of Lark Hill Sportsplex, the Dockers’ preferred permanent base.

Stage two upgrades for Lark Hill have not been fully costed and chief executive Andrew Hammond indicated to the committee that the council would struggle to fund the improvements.

Both codes currently share Laurie Stanford Reserve, but projected growth of the Dockers in the next few seasons means the club will outgrow its home bases in Singleton and Secret Harbour.

Singleton Residents’ Association has also slammed the proposal to permanently relocate the Dockers, claiming it is a temporary solution that would prove more costly in the long-run.

‘‘The SRA is not against the Secret Harbour Dockers coming to Laurie Stanford Reserve, but what we are against is moving 600-plus footballers into our community which would totally alter its charm and character,’’ association member Brian Preston told the committee.

The committee also endorsed a recommendation to invite both clubs to re-consider the relocation option, despite already stating their strong opposition to the proposal.

Councillor Chris Elliott voted against his three committee members, councillors Leigh Liley, Deb Hamblin and Lorraine Dunkling, to upgrade the two reserves in 2015-16 at a cost of more than $6.2 million.

The committee’s recommendation will go before the council at its next meeting on November 27.